Zara Kenrook has never wanted to be ordinary.
Abandoned at an orphanage, destined for a life in the slums, she’s clawed her way to the top and made herself a name as one of the best treasure hunters in Elantia.
But Zara hasn’t gotten to where she is without making enemies, and when one of them calls in a debt, her entire livelihood is thrown into peril. Suddenly, Zara is faced with two impossible choices — break into a dragon rider’s home and steal a priceless artifact, or lose the career she’s worked so hard to build.
Luckily, Zara has some experiences pulling off heists, and she’s never been one to back down from a challenge. But when the object she tries to steal turns out to be a dragon egg, her whole world changes. For this particular dragon is about to hatch, and once it lays its fiery eyes on Zara, her life will never be the same…
Genre: NA Fantasy
Title: Call of the Dragon
Series: Dragon Riders of Elantia #1
Author: Jessica Drake
Publisher: Dynamo Press
Source: Jessica Drake
First off, note that this is Jasmine Walt writing as Jessica Drake to appeal to the proper reading audience who’d appreciate this genre. Do not think this is someone else ripping off Walt’s work and report her, okay? Don’t report. Please lol. Now on to the review.
Elantia sounds like a pretty cool place. Yes, the ‘ground-dwellers’ are pretty much the poor or working class while the old-money families live on floating islands because of their ancestors who earned the status generations ago, but it can still be a fun place, you know? Danger, adventure, treasures to be found… and dragons.
Zara is an orphan who’s had a few breaks in life but has otherwise made the woman she is today. She’s self-efficient, great at what she does, and is known as the best treasure hunter money can buy. Her special gift allows her to be the best, but when it lands her in a predicament she couldn’t have foreseen, she soon finds herself embracing things she thought she buried a long time ago. Now she’s balancing a life she’d built and a life she never wanted, but with embracing these new things comes answers. Particularly, answers that every orphan’s ever sought out: where do I come from? Discovering her family lineage is one thing, but without help, she won’t get far. And that’s not even the main thing. The main thing is trying to be a worthy rider for her dragon while trying to better understand the world she’s been brought into. Who can she trust? What should she follow through without regrets? Which path will ultimately fuck her over?
Throughout the story, these answers are pretty obvious, but at the same time, you know she can’t just ‘do the right thing’ because there are so many other variables to take into account. Like trusting a shady man who’s practically raised her, or believing in an upperclassman with seemingly good intentions. I liked Zara a lot, but when she’d do certain things, they tended to kick me out of the reading flow. I couldn’t agree with the things she did or the way her reasoning worked, and because of that, it made it a little harder to get back into the story. I couldn’t tell if it was her I was annoyed with or the way things were laid out for her to follow. It just maybe didn’t click with me and that’s why I found myself questioning the direction of this story.
The writing is good, and I love Elantia. I love the dragon academy Zara has to attend, I like the dragons and the history Drake’s built for it. A few characters were a little cliche but if their futures don’t turn out obvious by the third or fourth book, I could seriously see myself liking them. I liked the ‘mean girl’ at first because she seemed like a person with depth, but then other things happened and she went back to feeling one-dimensional. By the end of the story, I was left with an alright impression of all the characters, but let’s be honest. We all know who the best one is here: Lessie, of course!
Zara’s dragon is a hoot and I love her big personality. She and Tavarian, Zara’s warden, are probably my most favorites of all. I won’t say why for spoilers’ sake, but I will say that I like the way things are setting up. I think I know where it’s heading, and if it is, I’m so stoked, but either way, I look forward to joining them on their next adventure. You should join in on the dragon fun if you like treasure hunting and reluctant characters who’ve had greatness thrust upon them. Or in this case, a haughty dragon with the dominance to back it up.
I love her so much.